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  • Writer's pictureWJ Kehewin

Jesus was Born in a Sweatlodge (Fiction)

Mother's favorite thing to do at Christmas was to create the whole manger scene with Jesus and the lambs and of course Mary and Joseph too. She even created little fat, round wise men and sometimes, well most times made more than three; she would say everyone needs more than three smart men around plus we also need one or two to take out the garbage. See would roll her almond paste and work it between her fingers like a meditation while popping macadamia nuts in her mouth at about a minute intervals. I'm not sure where mother went when she was making her marzipan oxen and sometimes even tiny chihuahuas like maybe just maybe, Chihuahuas attended the birth of Jesus. I once asked her why she did this and she just looked at me, shrugged her shoulders and said, "Why not?" and I was supposed to be happy with that answer. She'd sit there staring at her bowl of Marzipan kneading it like she was listening to a slow love song only she could hear. She'd spend more time on Mother Mary and Baby Jesus while joseph just looked like a half-assed blob. She'd stare off into space, cigarette lit, ashes falling to the sides of the bowl. It was like she was in a dream or maybe a nightmare and she was seeing things no one else could see. Maybe she was seeing her mother making baby Jesus or maybe she was seeing her mother walk out on her and her father for the last name over a bag of macadamia nuts and a cheap bottle of wine; not sure whose idea it was to buy it. Melancholia is what my grandmother supposedly had, Depression is what my mother has. It is what I have.

So mother takes her medicine like a good girl and disappears into the manger and this year, she creates a Sweatlodge scene. This year Jesus is born in a Sweatlodge. Cigarette ashes peppering the ground as Jesus sits up in his laundry basket and pets a chihuahua...or at least I think that is what's happening.

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